KALAMAZOO, Mich., Aug. 31, 2022 — State Rep. Julie M. Rogers (D-Kalamazoo) hosted Attorney General Dana Nessel at several stops around Kalamazoo to talk with members of the community. The first stop was held at the Ecumenical Senior Center, which included a panel discussion on what is being done to combat elder abuse; it was followed by a stop at the new Walnut & Park Diner to discuss its partnership with the Kalamazoo County Drug Court.

“I was honored to host Attorney General Nessel in Kalamazoo this afternoon,” Rogers said. “It was a great opportunity for members of the community to hear about the critical work her office is doing to combat elder abuse. I was also proud to highlight the wonderful work that Walnut & Park does to help provide people recently involved with our justice system learn new job skills that will positively impact their return to the community. With the increased challenges employers are facing with hiring, KPEP provides great opportunities for individuals to learn marketable skills that can help them re-enter the workforce.”

“Consumer protection is one of my top priorities,” said Nessel.  “I am committed to making sure Michigan residents are aware of the latest scams and know how to recover if they should fall victim to a bad actor.  My department’s Michigan Identity Theft Support unit, or MITS, can help residents recover from identity theft.  I was happy to meet with residents from Kalamazoo to discuss all that is being done at the Department of Attorney General to help keep them safe and financially secure.”

Bill DeBoer, president and CEO of KPEP, led a tour of the new Walnut & Park Diner at Washington Square. Kalamazoo Probation Enhancement Program (KPEP) modeled the new restaurant after the successful Walnut & Park Café in Kalamazoo that employs people through Kalamazoo County Drug Court and other departments within the criminal justice system.

“As Michigan’s prisoners prepare to return to their communities and the workforce, residential reentry programs like KPEP’s ensure a safe, secure and productive transition to a successful life outside,” DeBoer said. “KPEP’s innovative job training programs like the Walnut & Park Diner, paired with our treatment options and transitional housing, offer tools for success for our returning citizens, at a saving to taxpayers — and, most critically, they help improve public safety by creating pathways out of the cycle of crime and incarceration for these people.”